Myrtle Beach Real Estate by Mirela

Is Your Son Wanting To Be GI Joe? My Heartfelt Advice To Mothers:

DON'T READ THIS IF you are the mother of a son.  Especially don't read this if you are the mother of a son who wants to join the military.   It will make you cry.  It made me cry writing it, and I still get misty eyed as I read it yet again.  The following is an "over grown comment" I made last night on Melissa Grant's blog: "What is the age of reason?  My son is 15 and wants to join the Military". 

Dear Melissa,

Your words resonate with me.  My son was the same way.  It all officially started in high school with the ROTC program, but the signs were there long before that, when he used to move his plastic armies (those little military figurines) across the large World map I had bought for him.  By the way, you forgot to mention the shoe polishing endeavors...  my son was obsessed with polishing his ROTC shoes...

I sent him to the Citadel summer camp, thinking that the rigors of the military will sink in after three weeks there, but he came back even more excited and eventually became a Citadel Summer Camp counselor.  In case you don't know, "The Citadel" is the South's version of West Point.

The Citadel was the only college he applied to.  He did the early application, in his junior year, if I remember correctly.  He got accepted.  His first year there was rough.  I remember that first day.  I signed him in and he went in for a brief hour and came back very bothered.  It looked like he had been crying, but would not disclose what they did to him.  I left him at the Citadel with a heavy heart and wrote him a letter every day while he was in "Hell Week".  That was the only way to communicate with him.  I had absolutely NO access to him during that time.  No phone, no e-mail, no visits, nothing.  At the end of that period, I can't remember if it was one week or two, it felt like forever to me, he called me up and said: "Mom, what's with all the letters?"  They apparently held the letters during "Hell Week", and gave him ALL of them at the end of it. 

During the first year at the Citadel it was rough.  He never confessed to it, but I know the attrition rate was quite high among the cadets; I think only a small percentage of them actually finish that first, dreadful year.  My son was one of them.  He went on to become a Leader at The Citadel.  He was one of the Big Bosses on campus.  He became a Summerall Guard, a very high honor, the top of the top at the college.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude from The Citadel in 2006.

Early on, during his feverish pitch with the ROTC, I only asked him two things:  1.  If you like the military, attend a military college;  2.  Don't join ANY branch of the military until your last year of military college.  Never mind the scholarships they offer; I'll pay the tuition!  Never mind that all your friends are joining.  Just wait to join!  If, after 4 years of military training, you still want to join, go ahead and join.  I played the card "I was in labor with you for 30 hours..."

That's exactly what he did.  He joined the Marines at the end of his senior year at The Citadel.  He went to Quantico, VA for 6 months.  The first 6 weeks of his training it was arduous.  At one point, while in the hospital with fever and pure exhaustion, with gashing blisters on his feet from all the marching/running through water in wet boots, he considered quitting.  He called me wanting my advice.  As much as I would have loved for him to quit and come home to momma, I told him to honor his commitment.  I told him to finish the training, and if he still wanted to quit after that, he could reject his commission.  Always finish what you start; you don't want to go through life with "what if's"...  It's not good for the soul...

He finished his training.  He accepted the commission.  He is now an officer in the Marines.  He turned 24 today, my St. Patrick's Day Baby...  My Lucky Charm...  He got a standing ovation at my sister's wedding, standing ever so tall and proud in his Marine uniform.  He will be deployed some time this year or the next.  Am I scared?  You bet!  My son is the very core of my heart, and I am crying as I am writing you these lines.  I pray for him every night and I can't wait for this war to be over!

Some of his Citadel buddies have already come back from the trenches.  Some did not. 

In spite of all my fears, I am glad that my son is following his heart!  I've always taught him to do just that.  You have to honor the wonderful person that you've raised and accept their choices.  You have to encourage them to live an authentic life, one that may be very different from the choices you would make for them.  You will probably get a lot further with him and help him make better choice by encouraging him to attend military college first, before enlisting in the military.  He would be a much better soldier that way (or at least that's how you can sell him on the program...). 

The Citadel and VMA both have early orientation programs.  You could look into it for this summer.   

Kids should not be in wars.  Wars should be fought with paint guns.  We'd have Eternal World Peace if all the politicians were mothers...

Stay strong, Melissa!  You've raised a good kid.  Now gently guide him towards the military career that he desires by taking the long road to battle via the military college.  Who knows, it might even cure his military "itch": half the cadets graduating from The Citadel embrace a civilian career instead of the G.I.Joe one...

Good luck!  Call me anytime!  I would love to help!

Sincerely - Mirela

Your Myrtle Beach Real Estate Connection, Mirela Monte


    Celebrating the receipt of his Citadel Ring in 2005, with his then girlfriend, Mary, who is now his wife.  I am the proud mother in the middle.





My son & his wife.





     Marines marching at Quantico, VA, in 2006, when my son received his commission.

      You Tube      



Comment balloon 16 commentsMirela Monte • March 18 2008 08:28AM


You are a wise mother, who has no doubt raised a great son. I am not a Mom, but as an American, thank you!
Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) over 12 years ago
Thank you, Laura, for that lovely comment!  I appreciate it!
Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago
I honor your son to serve to protect my freedom. My younger brother did 2 tours to Iraq. I'm also honored to call him my brother. He was all military (followed our dad). It was "his" way of life.
Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic ( over 12 years ago

Mirela, I'm sure you are very proud of him, May the lord watch over him and keep him safe.

Posted by Hugh Krone, Realtor, Sussex County NJ (Weichert Referral Associates) over 12 years ago


You are very braave and a great source of comfort to Melissa. My daughter too wanted to go into the miitary but it did not work out right before bootcamp. One thing I saw was all the great support and wonderful stories of parents that had walked there before I.  I will pray that the Lord keep your son safe and protected during his service.

Posted by Mary Thomas BH,MB,HB, PV, Estates LA+, Mary C. Thomas Your Agent around the Globe ( Remax Estates Properties) over 12 years ago

Your kind words mean a lot to me!  Thank you so very much! 

I am ever so proud of my son!  Both of my kids have given me more joy than anything else I've experience in life.  They are my biggest accomplishment. 

It's funny, but it takes being a parent to understand the depth of that love... 

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago
Great post Mirela - I don't envy you the position. It's a proud thing to be the parent of a U.S. soldier but it's also a frightening thing. But you raised him to be strong and do what he believes in and that's a tremendous accomplishment. God bless and keep him safe - and you too.
Posted by Gene Wunderlich, Realtor & Legislative Liaison (1st Action Real Estate) over 12 years ago

Thank you so much, Gene!  You are so sweet!  That boy is such an amazing human being!  He is just as good as they come.  Everyone just loves him.  His own wife (yes, he's married already) said that she knew there must be something wrong with Alex, he was just too perfect.  After several years together, she concluded that "there is NOTHING wrong with Alex; he's just perfect!"

I have to send you some news clippings about your activities.  I've seen your name in the news several times and I saved the articles, I just have to find them now.  You are quite busy with the mortgage fraud issue.   I just wish you could clean up even further up the totem pole, if you know what I mean....

Good luck Gene!  Thank you!  It's always a pleasure reading your words!



Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago

Very well written.

The important thing to realize is that these men and women CHOOSE to be in the military. They are not forced. Too many people forget that. It makes me ill when people bash the military. They were never a wife sitting at home waiting for weeks to get a letter or phone call. They didn't give birth to 3 children alone while their husband was off in some desert. They don't know what it is like to watch your husband getting on a plane for a foreign land not knowing if you will ever see him again. They sit in their cozy homes and bash the very people that protect their right to be safe and happy. They should be ashamed of themselves but they aren't. Yet, even their right to be ignorant is protected by those they bash with their words. No matter the outcome, you can always be proud of your son. He did what few of us would. HE put his life on the line for those that don't even appreciate it. For the record, some of us do and that is what is important.

Posted by Cheri Smith, Realtor Prudential Gary Greene (Prudential Gary Greene, Cypress TX) over 12 years ago

Thank you Cheri for that passionate comment!  Yes, those fine men are driven by an internal compass that many people don't have.  Valor, Courage, Integrity, those are the staple traits among those men.  I've asked my son why?  His response was simple: "If I don't, who will?"

I sincerely don't think that the American public bashes the military.  I think that most Americans hold our men and women serving our country in very high regard.  I just think this war, like Vietnam, is not very popular.  The first and second World Wars, we HAD to go kick some butt!  I think a lot of Americans don't see the value of wasting our young lives and our precious resources on THIS war. 

I don't see a lot of rich kids fighting the war, either...  They are out partying on the Riviera and in the Hamptons.  It is OUR sons and daughters who are putting THEIR lives on the line, just as our fathers did.  The rich kids then become our politicians and send our kids to do the dirty deeds.  If more politicians were mandated to perform active combat duty, you'd see a lot less fighting...  Just a thought.

I don't mean to get political here, I just would like to see a bit more balance, that's all...  It's just ALL too "tilted" right now...

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago
By the way, if any of you have not seen the Vietnam Memorial, you owe it to yourself to go.  It was simply THE MOST EMOTIONAL MEMORIAL I've ever seen!  As I walked further down the path of the memorial, sinking deeper and deeper into it, and watching the wall get higher and higher, each square inch signifying a lost life, I couldn't fight the tears anymore; they all came streaming down and they continued to pour down my cheeks.  My son and I walked together, alongside each other, each deeply moved by the memorial and by our understanding that his life may someday be a square inch of yet another memorial...
Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago

I know you are a military mom. I was speaking on my experience as a wife. Even when this war was not going on there were people extremely rude to us as military families. People that called my husband names because of his job. They wanted us out of their towns even if it meant their town would fall to pieces if the post closed down. That was NOT the MAJORITY but sometimes the minority can have very loud, far reaching, hurtful voices.

You are right about the wealthier population. There used to be fathers who encouraged their sons to show their pride and honor by being in the military. Now they don't want that for their sons. I honestly don't want that for my sons. I thought I did but when I think of the hell I went through with my husband I just don't know if I can watch my sons walk on those planes!!!

I tried to get Tony to go to West Point. He could have easily gotten in. It was all set up. He was ready. I prepared myself. He was sworn in when he was 17 and his father and I signed for him. His dad had worked everything out. We had the congressmen ready to sign the recommendation. Then he changed his mind. I was so relieved.

My other son will most likely go military. I have 2 years until he turns 18. Hopefully this war will be over by then for my selfish sake.

Posted by Cheri Smith, Realtor Prudential Gary Greene (Prudential Gary Greene, Cypress TX) over 12 years ago

Thank you Cheri for sharing!  It is so sad to hear that instead of being appreciated for serving our country, our servecemen's families get mistreated.  It really is sad! 

I pray for this war to be over soon.  It's such a drain on our economy, and our psyche....

There is that scene in "Saving Private Ryan" (the movie), where the military comes to tell the mother that three of her four boys died on the front lines.  Oh, my God, I bawl my eyes out when that scene rolls around every single time I watch that movie.  It has to be the most moving scene I've ever seen.  THAT has to be the single worst thing that can happen to a parent: losing a child.  Losing three kids at the same time is beyond tragic!  I would rather die a slow, painful death, than go through that!

Cheri, stay strong!  If it counts for anything, I'm proud of you! 

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago


Thank you for sharing this great story with us. You should be so proud of your son. GOD BLESS him and all of our military men and women that feel the need to protect the rest of us and our freedom. May God always watch over them.

Posted by Terri Matlock, Assoc. Broker,CDPE,CRS,GRI,ABR (Keller Williams Home Towne Realty) over 12 years ago
Freedom definitely isn't free - and I am so grateful for all of those men and women who decided that the military was what they wanted to do. 
Posted by Darleen McCullen, Broker - Raleigh, NC Real Estate over 12 years ago

A very touching post Mirela. Many years ago I was being recruited by the Citadel to play football. I was from a military family and it seemed a good fit. However, this is not a decision that one makes lightly. I grew up in a military household and knew all to well the rigors of military life. In essence, I just couldn't do it. I am, however, eternally grateful to the many brave men and women who willingly put their lives on the line- and do so willingly and without complaint. No one will ever truly understand the reality of this decision until they see a loved one take upon this role. I salute your brave son and all those who make this their path. Thanks again for writing it.

By the way- my father was eventually transferred to Charleston AFB, where I was able to see the Citadel... it's such a beautiful area and I have such fond memories of South Carolina as a result.

Posted by Chuck Willman, Utah Homes (Utah Homes) about 12 years ago